Friday, September 19, 2008

Dusting off memories of Josiah

Ten years ago my future was changed forever. Tim and I had been married for eight years and we were excited to be expecting our first child. The pregnancy brought lots of emotional events. It seemed though that after I entered my second trimester things settled down. We heard the baby’s heartbeat and I began to feel peaceful about the pregnancy.

That all changed suddenly. Just a few drops of blood and my life began to shift in ways I never imagined. I called our midwife and they decided to do a “routine” ultrasound. We scheduled it for the next day and I made arrangements to take off work.

Wednesday afternoon we walked in for the ultrasound. We were excited. We weren’t planning on having an ultrasound or finding out the sex of the baby but decided to find out that day. The first few minutes were normal. Then it went on and on. The ultrasound tech was deathly quiet and we knew something was wrong. Finally after about a half hour she left and called the doctor. I remember clinging to Tim’s hand. She returned and told us that our midwife wanted to see us in her office and we were to go over there.

We drove the few blocks in silence. Wondering… The mind is an incredible thing, without enough information it will create the worst scenarios in the place of information. Ok, there was something wrong with the baby, we would deal with it. Maybe it would involve surgery. We were blessed to have many friends who were in the medical community where we lived so we knew that we could handle medical problems.

Once we reached the midwife’s office, one of the midwives met us at the door and took us into a private office. Julie sat at the desk and said “You know I don’t have good news for you…” Those few little words began the quake that shook our lives. Our baby had died. We would have to go through labor and delivery. We were scheduled to the hospital the next morning. In all our wondering we never imagined that they would tell us that the baby died.

I shared last year that grief books say when you lose your parents you lose your past but when you lose a child you lose your future. You lose the chance for the unknown. Maybe that is why the grief a child seems more poignant. You aren’t grieving the known, the memories you have. You are grieving the memories you could have had, all the things your child could have done and been.

With the loss of a child you don’t dust off memories you can laugh and cry over. You don’t have those memories to dust off. They simply aren’t there. Instead when certain milestones come you remember the loss and mourn the unknown. Our baby would have been born today; this is the first Christmas, first birthday, over and over. You mourn all the unknowns that you can never share with your baby.

Ten years ago I gave birth to Josiah James. He weighed 8 ounces and was 10 inches long. Those are the memories that I have. I remember what he looked like wrapped in a miniature blanket with a tiny hat. Those are the memories that I dust off today. I never rocked him, or feed him or changed a diaper. I never got to whisper in his ear. I got to hold him for a few short minutes. Today I remember those minutes. I mourn the loss of so much more.

When we drove to the hospital ten years ago it was raining. We commented that God was weeping with us. Today I know that I am not alone in my grief. I know that God lovingly cares for me. Today I trust that my heavenly Father has a plan for this in my life that I can’t see or understand. I trust that He didn’t forsake me ten years ago and he will not leave me today.

Dusting off my memories…

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It has been an emotional week.

I am realizing that I am more emotional now than normal. I have had to take a step back and evaluate some things.

I realize that 10 years is a long time but today my mind feels like it was just yesterday. Ten years ago this week I was happily pregnant. Tim and I had just attended my 10 year class reunion. So I had been able to visit with my parents and reconnect with my high school friends. We were excited to share about our first pregnancy.

We had no idea that in one week our lives would be forever changed. As I remember what we experienced the flood of emotions is so fresh it seems like yesterday. I can't believe that it has been 10 years. I can still remember the ultrasound tech and how deathly quiet the room was as she scanned. I can still see my midwife's face and hear her say "You know I don't have good news...". I remember holding Tim's hand and thinking what is going on, surely it isn't that bad.

I remember driving home and laying in bed with my hand on my stomach praying for the least movement, for anything. I remember laying in bed with Tim that night and crying all night. I remember the rain as we drove to the hospital. Tim saying that even God was weeping with us.

I read an article this week written by a Christian that chose to abort her twins because they weren't developed properly and one was dying in utero. As I read the article I felt such pain and remorse. I would have given anything to have held my baby while he was alive. I would have cherished even a single minute. I am trying hard not to judge this fellow believers decisions but it is hard. When my grief is still so real, it is hard not to ask why?

This week I think this hits me especially hard. In a hurtful way, I have been called ignorant and stupid for voting for a candidate based on their stance on abortion. I have been told that really because that is an issue that is important (the most important) to me that I don't deserve the right to vote.

It has been said that really if you are pro life then you should do something about it. The inference that those of us that are pro life don't. How utterly arrogant. People have no idea what I have or haven't done to support mom's struggling with unwanted pregnancy's.

All of this comes so close the anniversary of the most traumatic event in my life. So right now my emotions are raw. I feel like I am being attacked and am not sure how to defend myself.

So I have taken a self imposed sabbatical from my favorite message board. I am separating myself from women that I consider friends. I know that I will deal with this but tonight it is hard. I feel very alone. I know that I am not but sometimes when you are dealing with the grief of losing a child you feel that way. Which is so sad to me. I know lots of other women that have suffered this loss. I know I am not the only one. But we don't talk about it much in society and so there is a self imposed restraint. When you face the anniversary of your loss you do it alone. I know that I have been guilty of not remembering the loss my friends have suffered.

I realize that ten years is a long time and that one year is a long time. We move on. But mamas don't forget. These are the days that we hold in our minds. I don't think we dwell on them but when certain dates come up we remember. We take out the memories that we have and we dust them off. We may cry, we may even laugh but we definitely mourn. We mourn the loss of the unknown.

In the midst of this my boys are playing around me on the floor. They have an elaborate train set up and block set up going. They know I am upset but they also realize that things will be ok. They can sense my sadness but they know it will pass. So even in the midst of this grief there is a celebration of life happening at my feet.

I will post later this week more about Josiah James. Ten years really doesn't seem that long at all.